The 2012 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, stop number two on the ASP Men’s and Women’s World Tour, wrapped up over the weekend with Red Bull surfers Mick Fanning and Sally Fitzgibbons taking top honors. The win marked back-to-back Bells victories for Fitzgibbons, while Fanning last won at the venue in 2001.
Fitzgibbons met Red Bull teammate and reigning ASP Women’s World Champion Carissa Moore in the semifinals; the pair have had frequent match-ups throughout their time on the Tour, with Sally prevailing at Bells.
“Semifinals is a good result but I’m disappointed in my performance there,” said Moore. “Unfortunately I couldn’t really get into a rhythm in that last heat, but it’s a keeper result and I’m looking forward to New Zealand next week and hopefully posting a big result there.”
Fitzgibbons advanced to the final to face four-time ASP Women’s World Champion Stephanie Gilmore in a thrilling match-up, with Sally earning the hard-fought win with a score of 10.76 to Gilmore’s 10.33.
“I’m speechless,” Sally said after the event. “I’m so pumped; that was tough. Bells went to sleep on both of us and it got real tactical at the end. I just can’t believe I won Bells two years in a row!”
“I thought I was consistently putting things together and surfing well and then I came up against a brick wall in Sally,” Gilmore commented. “It was a good final and Sally deserved this win.”
Fanning Takes Out the Champ
After finishing an uncharacteristic 13th at his home break last month at the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast, Mick Fanning was on a mission to improve his standing, and he did just that as he burned through his heats at the Rip Curl Pro. He earned his way to a semifinal match-up with friend and rival Joel Parkinson, winner at Bells in 2011.
Parkinson had been on fire throughout the event but was unable to defeat a determined Fanning, who moved on to face 11-time reigning World Champion Kelly Slater. The ensuing final was a firestorm battle that many were calling the best final in the event’s history.
Fanning scored early, but Slater answered with a full rotation aerial to pull down a perfect 10 wave score. He took the lead with another high mark, an 8.07, but would only briefly hold it. Fanning prevailed with an 18.80 score total.
“Kelly did that Hail Mary for the 10 and I thought, ‘Oh, here we go,’” Fanning said after the event. “I just caught waves and I’m stoked it all paid off. I’m just pumped; it doesn’t get any sweeter.”
The win was number 14 on the elite tour for Fanning, who earned the ASP World Tour title in 2007 and 2009. “I’m just stoked because it’s been so long,” Fanning said of the win at Bells. “It doesn’t seem strange that it’s taken so long to win another one when you’ve got guys like Joel, Jordy [Smith] and Kelly on tour. I usually come up just a bit short -- usually against Joel, but I got him today!”
Fanning moves up to a tie for third with Taj Burrow in the overall tour standings, behind Slater and Red Bull teammate Adriano de Souza, who finished equal ninth at Bells. Jordy Smith is currently tied for fifth overall.
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